DIRECTED BY: Michael Dougherty
STARRING: Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O’Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Zhang Ziyi and Ken Watanabe
The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.
The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient superspecies, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.
Following up from Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, released in 2014, we return to see that crypto-zoological organisation Monarch are being brought into question from the U.S Government about the god sized monsters that once ruled the Earth, referred to as Titans, and what they plan to do with the dozens located across the globe in hibernation. Meanwhile, one of their scientists, paleobiologist Dr. Emma Russell, has created a device known as the ‘Orca’, that is capable of emitting frequencies that only Titans can hear. Unfortunately an eco-terrorist known as Alan Jonah ambushes the Monarch base and kidnaps both Emma and her daughter Madison. Dr. Ishirō Serizawa and Dr. Vivienne Graham approach Emma’s ex-husband to help them locate them and the Orca as they believe Jonah’s intentions are to awaken all the Titans, leading to the awaking of King Gidorah, with only one Titan that can take him down, Godzilla.
We all know what we’re going into Godzilla: King of the Monsters for and that’s the monster action and I can say that’s what the film absolutely excels at. While it could be argued that the film uses the rain/dark skies backdrops way too much for the monster fights, visually it’s stunning to watch and you can clearly see what is happening on screen. As great as it is to see Godzilla and King Ghidorah on screen, it’s the evolution of Mothra here that brings a real beauty and awe to this sequel and is one of the biggest takeaways from the film. The cinematography by Lawrence Sher is great as is the score from Bear McCreary, especially with how it builds to the showdowns with the chanting mixed with the music. In terms of performances, Kyle Chandler is solid as everyman Mark Russell, while Millie Bobby Brown is good as daughter Madison.
If by any chance the main plot sounds ridiculous, it’s because it absolutely is. The fact that the human villain is so disillusioned by humanity that they decide the best course of action is to awaken these Titans to restore balance to mother Earth is….yeah, it’s fucking insane and once you learn how the Orca works, it’s bloody ridiculous. There’s a five year gap between the original and King of the Monsters and even some of the story sub-plots feel that way, such as the Government hearing with Monarch. Also, as much as a few quick snippets of multiple reviews state that there’s more monster action and less human stories playing out here compared to the original, I’ll disagree with that to an extent. Is there more action compared to the 2014 film? Sure. But there’s alot of focus on the human characters (I’d say it’s roughly 60/40 in the human stories favour) and 90% of them exist to either give exposition or remain one-dimensional. Granted the main emotional draw here is the Russell family but unfortunately some of those beats miss the mark. As for the monster action, there’s just as much teasing of some of the battles here as there were in the 2014 film. Even during the climatic battle, a good portion of the time is focusing on the human characters on the ground and, admittedly, I just didn’t care about the majority of them and their fate because I’m not made to care.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a film that I liked but wanted to really enjoy considering my anticipation leading up to seeing it. Visually it’s stunning, the score from McCreary is great and the monster action scale completely delivers. The main story of how they get these monsters to fight and the human character arcs however is ridiculous and the logic they bring up and completely ignore is baffling. Still a good time at the cinema to see the action on the big screen. 6/10